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More interviews likely for Washburn, South top jobs

  • Blog Post by: Steve Brandt
  • April 4, 2014 - 5:51 PM

Two Minneapolis high schools still will get new principals this spring, a district spokeswoman said this week, in a subtle shift from the goal of naming those two leaders for South and Washburn in April.

The latest schedule calls for the two new principals to be named during the week of May 5, according to a posting Friday on the web sites of the two schools.

Last fall, Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson set an April target for filling the jobs in a letter to parents at the schools outlining the process for selecting a principal. But a timeline posted in February called for the two new principals to be announced next week.

Spokeswoman Rachel Hicks said each site has interviewed three applicants previously vetted by the district , and that the district will refer more more candidates for school interviews soon. The district wants school interview teams to rank the applicants, and then the area superintendent will recommend a principal to Johnson. A new union agreement with principals gives her new incentives for recruiting and retianing principals.

Going slower may be prudent given that the district got burned last August when it named Patrick Exner as Washburn's principal.  He then was accused of in an anonymous e-mail of changing student test answers at a charter school where he worked, a charge he flatly denied before the district cut him loose during the first week of school. That led to criticism of the district by some parents for not doing background checks thoroughly. This year, candidates for both jobs are being put through a day-long set of screening tests.

Assistant Principal Linda Conley has been Washburn's interim principal, while retired principal Willarene Beasley has done the same at South. The Washburn opening originally occurred after Principal Carol Markham-Cousins was reassigned, while the South opening occurred when Principal Cecilia Saddler was made southwest area superintendent.

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